Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim says children of refugees are not allowed to enrol in public schools. – The Malaysian Insider pic, April 16, 2015.Putrajaya is firm in not allowing children of refugees under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to enter public schools, the Dewan Negara was told today.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said they could only attend private schools or schools managed by non-governmental organisations.
"Right now the government is firm on its stand that they (refugees) are here as UNHCR card holders. They are only cardholders and we are not a UNHCR member.
"So, if they want to attend private schools, they can do so. This is current stand of the government," he said when replying to the supplementary question from Senator Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki at the Dewan Negara sitting in Kuala Lumpur.
On the question from Senator Roslin Abdul Rahman, Shahidan said according to the UNHCR statistics, there were 151,770 asylum seekers and refugees registered with the organisation as of February 28, 2015.
Of the total, 140,642 were from Myanmar, he added. – Bernama, April 16, 2015.
Govt urges UNHCR to expedite repatriation of refugees
KUALA LUMPUR: The government continues to urge the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to expedite the repatriation of refugees especially Myammar nationals, the Dewan Negara was told today. Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said this was due to a myriad of problems that have cropped up due to overpopulation. " We are facing economic, social and public safety problems due to the large number of refugees especially those from Myammar," he told Senator Roslin Abdul Rahman during question time.
Shahidan said the government is also urging UNHCR to look into the cards issued to refugees as some of the individuals provided with the card can no longer be considered as refugees but more of economic migrants. Roslin had asked the government to state the current number of refugees in the country and what are their rights. Shahidan said as of February this year there are 151,770 registered refugees and asylum seekers in the country Of the total, Myanmar nationals make up a majority of the refugees and asylum seekers with 140,642 Other nationals include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia.
He added that the government does not recognise their refugee status as Malaysia is not part of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (CRSR) and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. "However, on humanitarian reasons, these group of people are given freedom and will not be detained unless if they have violated Malaysian laws. They are not denied rights to medical assistance and education here," Shahidan noted.
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